How Understanding Your Target Audience Helps Your Law Firm Thrive
Updated: Mar 12
One of the biggest marketing mistakes law firms make is that they try to appeal to everybody. Casting a wide net might make you think you'll bring in more leads, but it won't help you develop that all-important relationship with your potential clients. It's that relationship that turns your website viewers into solid leads and then into clients.
You might want your law firm to be relevant for everyone, but like the vast majority of businesses out there, it isn't.
Knowing and understanding your target audience helps you create a marketing plan and develop a law firm content strategy that appeals to the people who will value your skills and experience the most. Rather than spending time trying to get all the clients to come to you, you're better off focusing on your target audience and building trust with them.
How do I determine my target audience?
Your target audience (or your ideal clients) is based on a few factors:
Your practice area: The clients who need a personal injury lawyer are different from those who need a will written up. Both groups are different from those who need an immigration attorney. They hire lawyers for different reasons and make their purchasing decisions based on different factors. Of course, if your firm has a variety of practice areas, you might have numerous target clients. In this case, you should have a strategy that addresses each of your practice areas, rather than trying to create a category that covers them all.
Your practice size: Your ideal clients live in a geographic area. If you're a large firm with offices across the country, you have a wider geographic area to pull clients from than a one-person practice in a rural area. There's nothing wrong with either, but people living in a smaller rural town make different purchasing decisions than those living in urban areas. Some clients want a large firm with a team of attorneys ready to help them at a moment's notice while others want a boutique firm with personalized service.
The clients you've already helped: The experience you have will set the stage and the tone for the clients who hire you in the future. That's not to say you can't switch your target audience, but knowing who you've already helped will allow you to figure out why you appeal to those clients and market to others like them.
Examine your target clients' characteristics
Look at your current and past clients. Break them down into demographic categories such as age, gender, income level, educational level and geographic area. Are there some demographics that you've helped more (or much more) than others? Are there some that tend to need attorneys in your practice area more than others?
Find out why they chose you. What made you appeal to them over your competition? Why did they choose you over doing nothing? Why did they hire you at the point they did? Was it an urgent situation? Were they planning for the future? Was it in reaction to a news story? Was there something in your marketing that convinced them?
Determine who is actually hiring and paying you. Is it the person who needs your legal assistance or is it someone else (such as that person's parent)? You need to appeal to the person who chooses to hire you and pays you. That's not necessarily the same as being hired by the person who needs you.
For example, let's say you specialize in defending college students who face charges related to drunk driving. College students likely can't afford your fees, so it could be their parents who hire you and pay you. That means you need to appeal to the parents, not just the college students. An employer may be paying you to deal with an employee's immigration status. In that case, you should consider appealing to employers not to individuals.
Now do some deeper research. What does your target audience want? Don't just focus on their transactional legal need, find out about the deeper need. Do they want justice for a wrong committed against them? Financial security? Peace of mind? What do they care about? What are their challenges? Why do they make the financial decisions they do?
Determine your target audience's primary issue
As noted above, your target audience's primary issue isn't always the same as their legal issue. Their primary issue is related to the consequences of not hiring you as their lawyer, or of not sorting out their legal issue.
For example, a person might come to you after suffering an adverse reaction to a pharmaceutical product. They may want compensation for their injury, but if their injuries are severe they could face high medical costs related to treatment for their injury, and they could be unable to work. What they truly need is the peace of mind that they won't be put in financial jeopardy thanks to an adverse drug reaction.
You're not only fighting for compensation for an injury, you're providing clients with peace of mind and financial security.
Figure out how your target audience conducts online research
Does your ideal client get information through Google searches? Through social media? Do they lean heavily on reviews? Knowing your target demographic helps you determine how best to find them (or ensure they find you when they need you). Men and women tend to research online differently, as do older people compared with younger. Those who seek a divorce attorney will research their options differently from those who seek a personal injury lawyer.
You don't need to spend much time or energy marketing yourself outside of the channels where your target audience exists.
Create a content marketing plan that appeals to your law firm's target audience
Once you know and understand your target audience, you can create content for your law firm that builds a relationship with them. You can develop a law firm marketing plan that establishes trust and compels your ideal clients to reach out to you for more information. You can optimize your website to generate leads and encourage search engines to see your website as highly authoritative in your practice area. You can also develop your unique selling proposition to obtain more high-quality leads.
Your legal practice website content should engage your target audience, demonstrate why they should hire your law firm, and provide an easy way for them to contact you. It should have a clear call to action that compels them to reach out to you.
Show your potential clients how you will address their problems.
Note that by defining a target audience and marketing to that group, you aren't obligated to turn away clients who don't fit that classification. You're free to take on the clients you like. But you're narrowing down your target marketing to appeal to a specific audience so you will be at the top of their mind when they need you.
It saves you the time and energy of trying to appeal to everyone and instead appealing to no one. Now, your legal practice marketing will help you appeal to better clients who value your skills and expertise.
Need help with your law firm content marketing? Corporate Writers specializes in content strategies for legal practices. Contact us today to find out how our SEO and digital content marketing can help your law firm thrive by bringing in solid leads. We've helped law firms find and retain clients involved in nationwide litigation issues, major aviation incidents, and other litigation.
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